Saturday evening, three minutes from the final horn in a North American Hockey League game between the Austin Bruins and the Bismarck Bobcats, Bruins' leading scorer Brandon Whalin was assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind. At the time of the penalty, the Bruins led 3-1. Four seconds before it was set to expire, the Bobcats scored to win the game, 4-3, in overtime. In other words, it was a huge call.
To make matters worse, at least one man at the arena that believed the check was clean: Bruins' announcer James Lilledahl. And speaking of huge calls, you absolutely must hear his reaction to hit and the aftermath that followed, because it's incredible.
It would appear that Bruins and somewhat biased announcers go hand-in-hand.
Seriously though, that call, my god. It borders on theatre of the absurd.
It starts so calmly, too. "Blom", Lilledahl says, fully composed as Bobcats defender Levi Blom moves the puck out of his end. But then Blom gets crunched into the wall.
"CHECKED INTO THE WALL BY WHALIN!"
And when the Bobcats respond to the big hit by jumping Whalin in the neutral zone, a pretty common response to clean checks in hockey these days, Lilledahl goes full Jim Ross.
"OH MY GOD NO! WHALIN'S JUMPED AT CENTRE! OH NO, THEY GOTTA SAVE WHALIN!"
And then it happens: Lilledahl lapses into some sort of on-air fugue state, repeating "It was a clean hit" like a broken record. He says it a grand total of sixteen times, with only slight variations in inflections and volume to separate one from the next. It's amazing.
Basically, Lilledahl becomes Danny Torrence from The Shining, saying "Redrum!" in some sort of trance, over and over, until, eventually, he realizes he's saying it but can't stop, and begins shouting it to wake up his mom and help him.
It's almost a Family Guy bit, where the joke becomes how often the same thing is repeated. It starts to get funny. Then it stops. Then it starts being funny again, and by the last one, you're in stitches.
I'm also amazed at how varied the emotion seems to be every time he cycles back around to the beginning of the phrase. For awhile, he's saying it like a fact. Then he's marvelling at what transpired as a result of what he believed to be a clean hit. Then he's almost pleading with the officials. Then incredulity. The last five almost play out like the five stages of grief.
Anyway. I think he disagreed with the call.
s/t to Eye on Hockey.
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